More sunshine and warmer temps are finally here (or almost here). If you’re like many of us at Heatilator, you’re itching to start outdoor projects – after all, fresh air and good old-fashioned physical work are good for the soul. To inspire you, we’ve rounded up some great springtime project ideas that will get your lawn and gardens started right. And don’t have all the fun alone. Enlist the whole family, because outdoor work is good for everyone!
Dethatching your lawn by raking is helpful to remove dead grasses and snow mold, which will help new grass emerge. If your lawn is squishy and water-soaked yet, wait to rake until you can walk on it without leaving a footprint. If you start raking too soon, you could damage the new grass taking root.
Spring is the time to repair your lawn before the heat of summer arrives. Damage caused by pet urine, kids’ activities, or mowers can be resolved by simply removing the damaged turf, preparing the soil with black dirt, and laying sod or grass seed on the patch. Water it frequently and keep everyone off the area until the new grass is rooted.
When choosing your sod or seed, try to choose varieties that are similar to your existing lawn and suitable for your climate zone. (Easier said than done, we know.) After all, how many people know the difference between Kentucky bluegrass (is that a type of music?) or fescue grass? At a minimum, be sure to read the label on grass seed mixtures or lawn repair kits. Some can contain a high percentage of annual grasses, which will sprout quickly and look great this year, but will be disappointing next year.
Spring is the time to apply pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn to inhibit crabgrass growth. Your lawn may also benefit from a light fertilizer, and many are combined with herbicides for your convenience.
According to Lawn Care Academy, over-seeding an existing lawn is generally best done in the fall to give new grasses more time to develop a strong root system before the heat of summer. Aeration is also best done later in the year, particularly for cool-season grasses, and just prior to over-seeding.
Bountiful Flower Garden
Getting your existing flower garden ready for delightful blooms may be a labor of love or a chore, but either way, it will pay off later!
This is a good time to plan your garden and consider what you liked and didn’t last year. Will you incorporate a different mix of annuals? Do you need to replace some perennials that haven’t done well? Are you looking for more color or less maintenance? Do you want more plants that attract butterflies? BHG.com has a garden-plan finder that can help you create your masterpiece.
If you didn’t cut back your perennials last fall and you can walk around your plants without compacting the soil, now is the time to trim before new foliage emerges. When all danger of frost has passed, you can also remove the mulch over your perennials. Wait to divide your perennials until the ground has warmed and is workable, and not water-logged.
Tulips and irises are the early risers. Once your bulbs have begun to bloom, apply fertilizer or compost to encourage growth.
If you’re anxious for color, now is a good time to start your container garden indoors. Greenhouses and garden centers can help you choose a mix of annuals that complement or contrast one another for striking pots that can be moved outside when the weather is right in your area.
Tasty Vegetable Garden
It might look like a bare patch today, but in a few months that vegetable garden will provide a bountiful harvest if you get started now.
A good start begins with preparing the soil when it’s workable and not wet. Pull any weeds or plants that may remain from last year’s garden. Rototill the soil and work in compost. To limit weed growth and warm the soil, lay a sheet of landscape plastic or landscape fabric across the garden’s surface after tilling.
Depending where you live, soon you may be able to begin planting cool-season vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, beets, carrots, lettuce and spinach. Bare-root perennial vegetables and fruits, including asparagus and rhubarb, can also be planted early in the season.
If it’s too soon to plant where you live, plan your space now. Planning may include building your raised-bed garden (fewer weeds!) or trellises for your climbing or vining plants like squashes, cucumbers, peas and beans. One space-saving tip: plant herbs in a container that can be kept on your deck or patio – closer to the kitchen. This way you can also bring them inside when the weather cools in the fall.
So with that, it’s time to go outside and get to work. Before long, your yard and garden will be a beautiful oasis of enjoyment. From all of us at Heatilator, enjoy the spring season!